This was turning into a violent nightmare for all concerned and it was hard to really believe it was happening to all of us here on the out skirts of a small Dutch village so much was happening . Houses were burning, vehicles wre on fire, small arm firing was interspersed with some exploding mortar bombs. In all it was not exactly a quiet evening. After the GGHG troopers picked up our prisoners Lt Ross said he was going to go back into the village and see if he could this time get help. Lt Ross said that he thought he was going to get a tank on his previous hazardous trip into the village. Lt Ross said he would walk in front of a tank to lead it back to Fox troop area so a GGHG tank sergeant said he would start his tank and follow Ross. The GGHG officer said no that it was too dangerous for the tank and crew to go across the field to Fox troop without a section of infantry out in front to deal with Panzerfaust toting Germans waiting to knock out the tank. Permission denied. Now Lt Ross said he was going to make another attempt and I remained at the house guarding the left side and thought the Irish corporal and his two men were on the right side with our chaps at the windows of our command house.
Probably I should explain what went on initially. After the first two mortar bombs and Sgt Humble capturing the first prisoners, Lt Ross contacted our Battery command post and reported the numbers of Germans he thought he could hear moving up. Battery command post was under a heavy attack of German infantry so they took Lt Ross's figures and their own and reported to Regimental Head quarters the growing numbers. Here is where things went awry. We had a new Major that was the new second in command, This chap had been senior to Major Brooks who had held the post up to a few months before and Iím not sure what battle experience he had. The figures submitted to him, and this is documented, he divided by ten and so no concentrated effort or plan came forth to deal the attack.
I shall leave this chap nameless as what good would it do now and he has passed away. But hind sight shows if Major Brooks had still been there things would have been different.
Back to the house Iím now by myself on the left side of the house and was startled as I heard someone coming from my rear. The someone turned out to be the Irish Regiment corporal who said Sgt major we are really in a tough spot. What are you and the rest of your fellows going to do to get out of here? He then went on to tell me the Germans were advancing up the Apeldoorn, Otterloo road to his right and the track in front of our house he could hear Germans talking as they moved along it.
I asked the corporal where were the two infantry men that were with him. He replied that they had left some time ago to get back into the village so the corporal and I started to go towards Sgt Humble's gun when both of us stopped and at the same instance saw that we were walking directly behind about eight or ten German soldiers pulling a Maxim heavy machine gun on wheels.
We immediately scurried back to my slit trench and in the trench I said will we take them on? The corporal said not with just your revolver and he only had a half a magazine for his tommy gun. His next move was he was going for C company so with that he leaped to his feet and ran to the right of the Germans and disappeared into the night. But I must tell you as he took off running to the rear I could not see him but he raised a lighter dust with every step and I waited for the Germans to cut him down.
This will seem incredible but the dust raised by his running reminded me of seeing a lone prairie antelope run across a plowed field raising the dust at each leap even though I could not see the actual animal. Well here I'm alone in the slit trench and they have not shot at the corporal. I cannot stay here so I jumped up ran up behind the Germans that towed the machine gun. I croaked a "Let them Have it Nels! " and ran to the right up to Pop Barkwell's gun. I did not give a password just hollered it is Gordie, and piled in with Pop and his crew I told him about the group advancing to Nels Humble's gun. I leaped out from there and did the same at Smiler Johnson's gun and from there to the further gun Darcy Spencer's. Now this total distance from where I hollered let them have it Nels until I arrived at the last gun was at least sixty yards. Darcy immediately wanted to grab his bren gun and go to help Nels and his crew. I vetoed this as we had not heard Nels and his crew open fire on the Germans and Darcy and his crew would likely be mistaken for the enemy.
Why no firing from the corporals run? My hollering at each gun ? I will never know except this group towing the machine gun had to have been confused what was going on or stopped to get their plan of attack on the guns mounted. Darcy, his crew, and I soon heard the password called out by some of our gun crews. This followed within seconds by rifle and machine gun fire and screams that echoed around and continued for a long while. The violent night only increased and this is as far a I have ever been in writing it down. Now you can see why.